The average American spends more than 11 hours on social media and mostly through a smartphone or tablet according to a Nielsen survey in 2014.
Studies show that we pick up our phones more than 85 times a day and spend more than 25 hours online in a week.
There is no way so much time would be spent on one thing, without it affecting one way or the other. Technology has changed our world and the way we see a lot of things.
But, most significantly, technology has affected our relationships, both negatively and positively.
In the ancient world, before technology, relationships took time and people invested a lot to get their relationships to a certain level.
With the advent of technology, a single click, one video, or a really interesting post can get you millions of ‘friends’. Some see this as a welcome development but others believe technology has destroyed the beauty of face to face communication.
How Does Technology Affect Relationships? Technology has affected all the different levels of relationships. It has affected relationship both negatively and positively.
Positively, technology has accelerated the growth of relationships, made communication easier, and increased our network of friends.
Negatively, technology has lead to addictions that substitute real relationships, poor etiquette, and lack of emotional visibility for social media users.
How Technology Affects Relationships At Various Levels?
In several forms, technology has penetrated every facet of modern life and it has affected relationships on all levels.
From the electric appliances used in the homes to the almighty internet connecting people and ideas, technology has drawn people in relationships closer and pulled them apart.
Here are some of the levels of relationships that technology has touched:
Technology has allowed parents to bring their work home. The internet and social media have made it possible to do a lot of jobs from home. However, this opportunity didn’t draw parents and children together but created a wedge between them in most families.
Family time is being replaced by mobile phones, television, and games. Used properly, technology can be a tool to pull together instead of apart.
Social media has become the primary mode of communication among teens and young adults. A shy and introverted boy can hide behind a more outgoing persona. More people spend time texting their friends instead of engaging in face-to-face communication.
Social media is also a place of cyberbullying, cybercrime, etc. The technology could, therefore, mean the second round of bullying or a means of mending bridges with other people.
Technology and the internet had made it easier to meet new people and form stronger bonds. From platonic friendships to romantic ones, technology has given people the opportunity to meet, learn more about themselves, and generally just relax with someone.
The speed and strength of these new relationships may make them not last as long as relationships formed by face to face meeting though.
Technology has helped lovers stay in touch. Through videos pictures, and texts, many relationships have been able to survive long distances and time apart. However, technology also places a strain on a lot of romantic relationships.
Spouses now have many things to get jealous of or raise their brows at. Technology has also given more access to other options, making it difficult for many people to stay committed in their relationship.
Technology has left its mark on all kinds of relationships in different ways. Let’s look into some of the issues that have risen in relationships due to technology.
In What Ways Have Technology Affected Relationships?
Technology has led to both positive and negative happenings in relationships. Here are some of the ways that technology has impacted relationships.
1. Technology has accelerated the speed of relationships. This acceleration is glaring in the speed new relationships are formed.
2. Technology has made communication easier. Families, spouses, and friends can talk to each other without being in the same place. This ease in communication makes planning and understanding each other easier.
3. Technology has expanded our network of friends and relations. Technology is helping to bridge the color and race gap and giving people a reason to be friendly with people they normally would never have met pre-technology.
4. Technology also brought about several technology-related addictions. So many people are glued to their phones, social media, or even games. This addiction is not as popular as others but it is equally as deadly as the participant begin to gradually lose touch with reality.
5. Etiquette is lost in the use of technology. Protocols and procedures are usually not followed when using social media, for instance.
6. One of the highest complains in using the internet and social media to communicate is the loss of emotional empathy. A text will not convey emotions as face to face relations.
7. The absence of the nuances of non-verbal communication also affects relationships as meaning can get lost when using technology to communicate. This absence can lead to fights and misunderstandings.
What Should Be Our Response?
What should be our response to technology? How should we use technology? This question is very simple to answer. You just have to understand the place of technology, understand that it cannot replace face to face communication but rather just supplements it.
In practical steps, you can inculcate these habits to help you not get swallowed up in the technology craze.
1. Do not bring your smartphones or tablets to the dining table. Mealtimes should be family time. You can use them to reconnect with your family and ask questions.
2. Do not take your phone to bed. Make it a habit to finish everything you want to do on your phone before going to sleep. Your spouse will probably appreciate it more than you know.
3. Set a phone-free time every day. You can fill this period with activities that help you talk with other people or simply meditate and ground yourself in reality.
4. Don’t remove your phone immediately you arrive at your destination. Make it a habit to take some time to study your environment. Greet someone close to you, if that is possible. You might find yourself having more conversations and real friends this way.
Technology has changed and is still changing our relationships. You can, however, change your response to technology to get the most use of it without losing the human touch.